German Marquez has been named as the 2020 Opening Day starter for the Colorado Rockies. I asked last year’s Opening Day starter, Kyle Freeland, what he said to his teammate about the honor.
When the Colorado Rockies open the 2020 season in Arlington against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, German Marquez will take the hill for his first-ever Opening Day start. Last year, that honor went to Kyle Freeland for the first time, so I asked Freeland about his thoughts on the mentality of Marquez heading into Friday.
"“I told him congratulations and gave him a hug,” Freeland said. “I told him to go out there and have fun. I know he’s going to do his thing. He’s a special talent. It’s not a setting that he is going to be uncomfortable in at all. He’s been in big games and, in my eyes, this is one of those smaller big games. It’s just another step for him. I have full confidence he’s going to go out there and do his thing and pitch extremely well.”"
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The 25-year-old Marquez is coming off a 12-5 season in 2019 with a 4.76 ERA. That includes a 3.15 ERA in his first seven starts of the campaign, a hopeful sign for the Rockies with a shortened season (60 games) ahead in 2020 and fewer times on the mound for each of their starters as well.
While Freeland, who will take the mound in Texas on Sunday, tipped his cap to the significance of getting an Opening Day nod, he was also quick to point out that it’s one pitcher making one start in one game.
"“It’s definitely special to be named the Opening Day starter,” Freeland said. “Me and Jonny (Jon Gray) have gone through it the past few years and it is something special. But, in the same part, this is a team aspect. This is five starters looking to accomplish one goal and work together every single day.”"
Marquez, Freeland, and Gray will be looked to heavily by the Rockies this season. They not only form a solid nucleus in the starting rotation, but they also could be leaned upon at the start of the season. With Colorado’s schedule including open days between their first three series of the year, the Rockies could go with a four-man rotation that would also include Antonio Senzatela well into the first two weeks of the campaign.
Senzatela, slated to start the opener in Colorado’s second series of the year (starting Tuesday night in Oakland), didn’t allow a baserunner until the fifth inning of Wednesday’s exhibition win over the Rangers.